RBG (2018) Script

MICHAEL SAVAGE: This witch. This evildoer. This monster.

MARK LEVIN: She has no respect for the traditions of our Constitution, none.

DONALD TRUMP: An absolute disgrace to the Supreme Court .

RICK WILES: She's one of the most vile human beings.

SCOTT LIVELY: She's very wicked, yeah.

MICHAEL SAVAGE: She's anti-American.

BILL O'REILLY: She's a zombie.

The woman's a zombie, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG: I ask no favor for my sex.

All I ask of our brethren... is that they take their feet off our necks.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

Twenty-six, 25, 24, 23, 21, 20, 19

♪ ♪

ANNOUNCER: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

[CROWD CHEERING]

♪ ♪ NINA TOTENBERG: How's your health? Uh, I'm feeling just fine.

Here now to comment is Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

[CROWD CHEERING] [LAUGHING]

TOTENBERG: It's an amazing thing to see somebody in her 80s become such an icon. Do you mind signing this copy?

I am 84 years old and everyone wants to take a picture with me.

She is really when you come right down to it, the closest thing to a superhero, I know.

♪ ♪ They call her Notorious RBG, that's her rap name.

Notorious R... RBG.

Yeah, no, no, RGB... RBG right.

The notorious... NEWS ANCHOR: Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg getting a lot of attention after she delivered a scathing dissent.

Whether you agree with her or not, you got to acknowledge she's been a force on that Court.

Liberal hero, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As much as people admire her, they don't even know the half of it.

KATHLEEN PERATIS: She was the queen.

HARRY EDWARDS: Ruth knew what she was doing in laying the foundation.

ARTHUR MILLER: To put women on exactly the same plane as men.

TOTENBERG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg quite literally changed the way the world is for American women.

Twelve, 11, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five...

JOE BIDEN: Today the Senate judiciary committee welcomes Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the president's nominee to be associate justice of the 'United States Supreme Court'.

♪ ♪

Judge do you swear the testimony you are about to give will be the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

I do, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.

I am a Brooklynite, born and bred... a first-generation American on my father's side... barely second-generation on my mother's.

What has become of me could happen... only in America.

[PIANO MUSIC]

♪ ♪ RUTH: Neither of my parents had the means to attend college, but both taught me to love learning... to care about people... and to work hard for whatever I wanted or believed in.

RUTH: My father was from Odessa and during his growing up years, Jews were no longer admitted to the Russian schools.

Education was terribly important.

My mother was loving but also very strict, making sure I that I did my... homework, practice the piano, didn't stay out jumping rope too long.

[LAUGHING]

I loved to do the things that boys did, when I was growing up.

One of our favorite things was climbing garage roofs from one roof to another, leaping... leaping over.

Justice Ginsburg, we cannot call Ruth.

Right. We call her Kiki.

ANN KITTENER: She was beautiful.

Big beautiful blue eyes, which you really can't see very well behind her glasses, very soft brown hair.

She had this kind of quiet magnetism even though she was not effusive.

HARYETTE HELSEL: You always thought that she wasn't listening and that she didn't know what was going on but she knew what was going on.

She didn't do small talk. No, no small talk.

And she didn't do girl chat and she didn't get on the phone and talk with us about what happened on the weekend.

She's a deep thinker.

She's an only child. No...

She had a sister, I didn't know her sister.

Her sister passed away. Right.

HELSEL: But she and her mom were very close, very, very close.

RUTH: My mother died when I was 17.

I wish I could've had her... longer.

Well, her mother must have been a very steely person because she had cancer a long time and... and lived trying to get her child through high school.

KITTENER: We were supposed to be at graduation.

And then the night before we got a message that she would not be able to be part of this.

We knew then that her mother had passed away.

RUTH: She had two... lessons that she repeated over and over.

"Be a lady..." and "be independent."

"Be a lady" meant don't allow yourself to be overcome by useless emotions like anger.

And by "independent," she meant... it would be fine if you met prince charming and lived happily ever after. But... be able to fend for yourself.

In my lifetime, I expect to see three, four, perhaps even more women on theHigh Court bench.

Women not shaped from the same mold, but of different complexions.

I surely would not be in this room today... without the determined efforts of men and women who kept dreams of equal citizenship alive.

I have had the great good fortune to share life... with a partner.

Truly extraordinary for his generation... a man who believed at age 18, when we met, that a woman's work, whether at home or on the job... is as important as a man's.

I became a lawyer... in days... when women were not wanted by most members of the legal profession.

I became a lawyer because Marty supported that choice... unreservedly.

[PIANO MUSIC]

♪ ♪ TOTENBERG: So what was it about Marty?

[CROWD LAUGHING]

RUTH: Marty and I met when I was 17, he was 18.

I was in college.

Cornell was a preferred school for... for daughters.

♪ ♪

In those days, there was a strict quota for women.

There were four men to every woman... so for parents, Cornell was the ideal place to send a girl.

If she couldn't find her man there, she was hopeless.

[LAUGHING]

My first semester at Cornell, I never did a repeat date.

[LAUGHING]

[APPLAUSE]

RUTH: But then I met Marty, and there was something amazingly wonderful about this man.

He was the first boy I ever knew who cared that I had a brain.

Most guys in the '50s didn't.

One of the sadnesses about the brilliant girls who attended Cornell is that they kind of suppressed how smart they were.

But Marty was so confident of his own ability... so comfortable with himself, that he never regarded me as any kind of a threat.

We all were struck by the tremendous difference between Marty... and Ruth.

Marty was the most gregarious, outgoing, life-of-the-party.

Ruth was a really quite... recessive in a way... shy, quiet, soft voice but they worked, they worked.

Oh, he's so young.

RUTH: Meeting Marty... was by far the most fortunate thing that ever happened to me.

Marty was a man blessed with a wonderful sense of humor.

I tend to be rather sober.

In those days, it was not a great time for our country.

There was a red scare abroad in the land.

Are you a member of the communist party or have you ever been a member of the communist party?

It's unfortunate and tragic that I have to teach this committee the principles of Americanism.

CHAIRMAN: That's not the question.

RUTH: I had a government professor and he wanted me to see that our country was straying from its most basic values by some of our politicians who were seeing a communist in every closet.

But that there were lawyers, who were defending the rights of these people to think, to speak, to write freely.

CHAIRMAN: Stand away from the stand!

Fight for the bill of rights you're trying to destroy.

CHAIRMAN: Officer, take this man away from the stand.

RUTH: And then I got the idea that you could do something that would make your society a little better.

My family had some reservations about this... but then when I married at the end of college, my family said, if she wants to be a lawyer let her try.

If she can't succeed... she will have a husband to support her.

That's me waiting to get my diploma, very happy.

Yeah, see? That's a nice one. That's cute. Yeah.

So, we have a whole slew of pictures.

They took them from every possible angle.

You know who that is?

No.

It's Dean Minow. Oh. Dean Minow is so small.

We're the same height!

She's not that small, she's probably taller than you.

There's somebody in there.

CLARA SPERA: My brother and cousins and I all call her bubbe.

It's the Yiddish word for grandmother.

It's what we've always called bubbe.

SPERA: Bubbe! Yes?

SPERA: Do you know if you have fake sugar like Splenda or sweet and low? Yes, it should be someplace...

SPERA: That's helpful.

I feel like I have my grandmotherly relationship with her but also somewhat of a student scholarly relationship to her as well now.

She taught me that the way to win an argument is not to yell.

Because often that will turn people away more so, than bringing them to your table.

SPERA: I don't know what that says...

I can't tell if... for extraordinary dedication to the Harvard Law School and efforts on its behalf.

You know, this was the 200th year of Harvard.

So, it took 200 years for us... We were the first class that was 50/50 women.

So 50 percent men... we were the first class.

It takes 200... no. Yeah.

[PIANO MUSIC]

♪ ♪ MILLER: Women did not come into the Harvard Law School until the very early '50s.

Two percent was about what it was back then.

How did it feel to be one of nine women in a class of... over 500 men?

You felt you were constantly on display.

So if you were called on in class, you felt that, if you didn't perform well, that you were failing not just for yourself but for all women.

You also had the uncomfortable feeling that you were being watched.

American antitrust policy...

BRENDA FEIGEN: Harvard was a Socratic method.

So the professor would ask a question and then you would be called on to answer.

The way it worked with women was they didn't call on us.

I think they were afraid, we would sort of wither if we were subjected to that kind of questioning.

RUTH: When I was sent to check a periodical, in Lamont Library in the old periodical room.

There was... a man at the door and he said, "you can't come in."

"Well, why can't I come in?" "Because you're a female."

There was nothing I could say, this was a university employee, you can't come into that room.

RUTH: And then there was the Dean's famous dinner for the women in the first year class.

He asked each of us to stand up and tell him what we were doing taking a seat... that could be occupied by a man.

RUTH: There were many indignities that one took as just part of the scenery the way it was.

When I got to Harvard Law School and I'm really intimidated first year, Marty was saying, "Oh my wife. She's going to be on the 'Law Review'."

There was a woman in the class ahead of mine and she said, "this husband of yours is boasting" that you're going to be on the 'Law Review', "you look like a little twerp!"

To make the' Law Review', in those days you had to be in the top 25 academically, of 530, 540.

Her second year she makes the 'Law Review'.

So the mere fact marked her as something special.

RUTH: It turned out, that I did very well the first year and I attributed to having something very important in my life that wasn't the law books.

I came to Harvard as the mother of a 14 month old child.

I'd go to school... study as hard as I can, in a very concentrated way, I didn't waste any time.

Four o'clock in the afternoon our babysitter left and that was... my child's hours till she went... to sleep.

Playing with my daughter gave me a respite from the kind of work I was doing at law school... and I think made me more sane.

MILLER: We knew that Marty was ill.

We just knew he had his own battle and Ruth is now caring for both Marty and Janey.

RUTH: Marty in his third year of law school had a virulent cancer in days when there was no chemotherapy, there was only massive radiation.

He'd go for the radiation, wake up about midnight when the only food that he ate for the day he could manage.

And then I started typing the notes that his classmates had given me from his classes, reading whatever cases I would read for the next day and maybe I got two hours sleep.

TOTENBERG: She did her own work, helped her husband with his work, organized his friends so they could help him with his work and took care of her two year old child.

Fortunately Marty lived... but it's when she learned how to burn the candle at both ends.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

JIM GINSBURG: One of the memories of my childhood would be waking up in the middle of the night and there mom would be spread out over the dining room table with her legal pads, uh, and, uh, the coffee in one hand, and the box of prunes at the other.

She will work until two, three, four, five in the morning sometimes even, uh, later, then she will get up, she has a sitting she would have to be at the Court before nine, and then she sleeps the entire weekend.

So she catches up.

[LAUGHING]

LISA FRELINGHUYSEN: The sweet thing about working for a justice who works extremely hard is that we saw Marty come to chambers often... to lure her home.

He would say, "Ruth, it's time to come home to dinner."

She sometimes had to be physically brought home.

MILLER: Marty graduated from the Harvard Law School and was going to a firm in New York.

That was when Ruth finished her second year, given Marty, given his recent illness, they had to remain together, and the logical place was New York and the best option was Columbia.

RUTH: When I graduated from Columbia law school in 1959, not a law firm in the entire city of New York would employ me.

MILLER: Four of us from my class, Marty's class, went to the same law firm and two of us went to the hiring partner and said... we had somebody on the Harvard Law Review that we think is the cat's meow, we think this firm should hire her.

As soon as I used the "she" pronoun... the senior partner looked at me and says, "young man..." you don't seem to understand.

"This firm doesn't hire women."

She hadn't quite figured out, why it was that there were these barriers.

It wasn't until later that this all came together and became her life's work in, yes.

In fighting these injustices.

RUTH: Being a woman was an impediment.

FEIGEN:We did not have equal rights and equal recognition in the law at all.

TOTENBERG: There were not hundreds but thousands of state and federal laws all over this country that discriminated on the basis of gender.

Typical laws of the time like, "the husband is the master of the community."

He shall choose where the family will live

"and the woman is obliged to follow him."

♪ ♪

There's no aspect of American life in which you were not treated differently.

The idea was that... men were the breadwinners that counted and women were... pin money earners.

So women woke up and complained.

[JANIS JOPLIN] ♫

♪ One of these mornings ♪

♪ You're gonna rise, rise up singing ♪

♪ You're gonna spread your wings, ♪

♪ Child and take, take to the sky ♪

♪ Lord, the sky ♪ There came to be such a mass and a majority of women really who understood that they were not crazy, the system was crazy.

GLORIA STEINEM: Now, thanks to the spirit of equality in the air, I no longer accept society's judgment that my group is second class.

WENDY WILLIAMS: But marching and demonstrating just wasn't Ruth's thing.

Her thing was to use the skills she had and put them to work and those were her legal skills.

In 1963, she started at Rutgers as a law professor.

And really inspired by her students, she agreed to teach a course in this new subject of gender and law.

RUTH: In the late 60's, some of the students wanted a course in women and the law.

WILLIAMS: That's also when... she began dealing with sex discrimination cases.

And that was her entré into becoming a litigator.

ARYEH NEIER: The emergence of a women's rights movement had the possibility of playing the role in the 1970s that the black civil rights movement had played in the 1960s.

And so I was particularly eager to create a special project dealing with women's rights.

I got a call from the WACLU asking me if I would consider running the women's rights project with professor Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Whom I had heard of but I did not know.

I met Ruth the first day I was there.

She seemed very polite and quiet and reserved. Not a firebrand.

NEIER: She wouldn't speak up a great deal during meetings.

She always addressed whatever point there was.

There wasn't any peripheral element of it.

BETSY WEST: No small talk. No small talk.

None that I can recall.

FEIGEN: At that point in time, Ruth was developing her philosophy to take cases that would make good law.

If the case is going to be on its way to the Supreme Court, we wanted to be involved and we wanted to...

Frankly, take over the case.

TOTENBERG: She was following in the footsteps of the great civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall, who was the architect of the battle for racial equality basing it on the clause of the Constitution that guarantees equal protection of the law.

She wanted it to apply to equal protection for women.

My first argument before the U.S. Supreme Court was in Frontiero v. Richardson.

♪ ♪

SHARRON FRONTIERO: I was, way back in the 1970s, a... second lieutenant in the air force.

I went in the military because I needed the money.

AIR FORCE AD: Who says a woman has to settle for a routine job just because she's a woman?

Discover the United States air force and you'll discover the world.

FRONTIERO: I was newly out of college, this was a new job, I had just married, so it was the start of new everything.

It became clear pretty quickly that the men I was working with who were married got a housing allowance and I wasn't getting paid a housing allowance

'cause I was a woman.

I assumed it was a mistake so I went off to the pay office to correct the mistake.

"You're lucky we let you in here at all.

You're lucky that the air force allows you to serve," was what I heard right off the bat.

It took me aback and then I figured, well you know, here's one bigot, so I'll just keep asking around and it became very clear very quickly that there was no different story.

So we went to see a lawyer and I still thought it was a matter of getting a lawyer to write a letter for me.

Just write a letter, have the right information.

I'm clearly in the same category as these other men.

The lawyer said to me, "this isn't an administrative error."

This is the law and it's going to have to be rectified with a lawsuit

"and if you're willing, we'll take you on."

FEIGEN: Ruth and I heard about it and immediately let the lawyer for Sharron frontiero know we were interested.

It was very important to us to have a part in that case.

FRONTIERO: Nice girls didn't file lawsuits.

Particularly after they had been let into the service at all.

You know, what more did I want?

Well, I just wanted to be treated like everybody else did.

But there was the sense and there still is the sense, that nice girls don't speak up, nice girls don't make demands.

Ah well, too bad.

It went to the District Court in Alabama.

We lost and the next Court to go to was the Supreme Court.

FEIGEN:Ruth and I set to work to write the brief.

I would write a section and Ruth would take it and it would come back in a wonderfully brilliant fashion.

Every word of it was carefully...

I mean Ruth went over every single word.

What we wanted was a review of cases that the Court would say, sex discrimination doesn't work.

And it would be a broad command basically to legislatures to get rid of statutes that discriminate on the basis of... of gender.

But she also added to make the point much more poignant, the history of women and the way we were treated throughout America and its beginnings.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

She captured for the male members of the Court what it was like to be a second class citizen.

♪ ♪

WILLIAMS: Frontiero went to the Court.

Ruth Ginsburg, for the first time, made an oral argument.

She split her time with the lawyer, the man who had begun the case in Alabama.

RUTH: It was an afternoon argument.

So I was first up in the afternoon and I didn't dare have lunch that day.

FEIGEN: She seemed nervous.

Her eyes were wide with sort of anticipation.

It's very intense and austere and important and very male and it's the whole thing feels like.

I was... I was really kind of scared.

We sat down at the counsel table and had all these huge casebooks for me to help her with cites.

And the Court began with the " Oyez! Oyez!" and the "here we are."

COURT OFFICER: Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!

All persons having business before the Supreme Court of the United States are admonished to draw near and give their attention for the Court is now sitting.

CHIEF JUSTICE: Mrs. Ginsburg. RUTH: I was terribly, terribly nervous but then I looked up at the justices and I thought, "I have a captive audience."

I knew that I was speaking to men, who didn't think there was any such thing as gender-based discrimination.

And my job was to tell them it really exists.

RUTH:


There was not a single question. I just went on speaking and I, at the time... wondered, "are they just indulging me and not listening" or am I telling them something they haven't heard before

"and are they paying attention?"

FEIGEN: The justices were just glued to her.

I don't think they were expecting to have to deal with something as powerful as a sheer force of her argument that was just all-encompassing and they were there to talk about a little statute in the government code. I mean, it was just... we seized the moment to change American society.

RUTH: In asking the Court to declare sex a suspect criterion... we urge a position forcibly stated in 1837 by Sara Grimke, noted abolitionist and advocate of equal rights for men and women.

She said, "I ask no favor for my sex."

"All I ask of our brethren"

"is that they take their feet off our necks."

FRONTIERO: We were told about the decision when a reporter called us up and said, "it went in your favor today, how do you feel?"

I said, "I feel fine, thank you very much!"

We were both happy that we won the case.

Let's be clear about it, we won the case. But... we lost the standard of review that we wanted by one vote.

WILLIAMS: She tried to make the case, that sex discrimination should be treated like race discrimination.

Four justices signed onto that idea.

The problem was you need five.

RUTH: I said... it's too soon.

My expectation, to be candid, was that I would repeat that kind of argument... maybe half a dozen times.

I didn't expect it to happen in one fell swoop.

I think generally in our society, real change... enduring change, happens one step at a time.

The legal strategy of one step at a time in the '70s was a conservative strategy but the goal was equality and civil rights and that's who she always was and who she is now.

FRELINGHUYSEN: She is very disciplined but she has passions that she really enjoys.

She loves the opera.

SPERA: She goes to multiple opera festivals and the whole family will go with her.

I think it is a place of tranquility that is outside of the demands of her job.

RUTH: When I am at an opera...

I get totally carried away.

I don't think about the case that's coming up next week, or the brief that I'm in the middle of.

I'm overwhelmed by the beauty of the music, the drama.

And the sound of the human voice... it's like an electric current going through me.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[CROWD APPLAUSE]

RUTH: Justice and mercy, they're all in opera.

Very grand emotions.

♪ ♪

RUTH: A young man had a tragic experience.

His wife Hadan entirely healthy pregnancy, and he was told that he had a healthy baby boy but his wife had died.

STEPHEN WIESENFELD: The problem was amniotic embolism and at that particular point nobody had ever survived that.

They did keep her alive for about four hours but by 3:30 in the afternoon, the code blue came along and she died.

Jason was a very easy child.

My attitude towards raising a child is that, a child is not there for me, I'm there for him!

And that's what my job was.

RUTH: He determined that he was going to be a care-giving parent to that child.

He went to the local social security office and asked about the benefits he thought... a sole surviving parent could get.

And he was told, "well, that benefit is called a mother's benefit," and he didn't qualify.

So, he wrote a letter to the editor

"of his local newspaper. And he said,"

"I have heard a lot about women's lib. Let me tell you my story."

WIESENFELD: "To the editor."

It has been my misfortune to discover that a male cannot collect social security benefits as a woman can.

Had I been paying into the social security system and had I died, she would have been able to receive a benefit.

But male homemakers cannot.

I wonder if Gloria Steinem knows about this.

Ruth took a case in which a man was discriminated against in order to show... the depth and the importance of sex discrimination.

Very intelligent thing to do.

WIESENFELD: We appeared in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1975.

When we got to the courtroom, she sat me down at the table with her, she just wanted a male presence to be at that table so that the justices would have something to identify with.

That was a part of her strategy.

She was trying to convince members of the Supreme Court who were mostly white, male, privileged class at that time.

RUTH:

She knew exactly what she was doing and it was a very shrewd strategy.

RUTH: That case resulted in a unanimous judgment in Stephen Wiesenfeld's favor.

His case was the perfect example of how gender-based discrimination hurts everyone.

KATHLEEN PERATIS: Ruth's conception of the strategy led to a whole string of litigation for the next decade.

NEIER: She wanted to build the idea of women's equality step by step to use each case to move things forward.

It was like knitting a sweater.

♪ ♪

RUTH:

RUTH:

RUTH:

They didn't get it.

They didn't understand the issues that women were facing or they didn't see them as issues.

'Cause women had, in their minds women had a place and it wasn't... where Ruth Ginsburg was suggesting that it ought to be.

RUTH:

WEST: When they would say things like this, how did you respond?

Well, never in anger, as my mother told me.

That would've been self-defeating.

Always as an opportunity to teach.

I did see myself as kind of a kindergarten teacher, in those days, because the judges... didn't think sex... sex discrimination existed.

Well, one of the things I tried to plant in their minds was... think about how you would like the world to be for your daughters and granddaughters.

RUTH:

One of the things that I'm struck by, as I look back on it, is how unprepared the defendants were to fight back.

We won because the strategy was brilliant, we won because we were smart and prepared and we fought hard.

You couldn't miss what Ruth was doing during the '70s.

She was creating a legal landscape.

She was doing something that was... incredibly important to American women whether they knew it or not.

Just the thought that I might catch a glimpse of her is... overwhelming.

I have a mug of her in my room it says, "her story in the making."

I have her sticker on my computer!

I just ordered tons of merch.

Notorious RBG. We're here to get our books signed.

SHANA KNIZHNIK:I think it's easy to take for granted the position that young women can have in today's society.

And that's a lot in thanks to justice Ginsburg's work.

IRIN CARMON:Who is more disdained or told to go away than an older woman?

But here's an older woman who people really want to hear everything that she has to say.

AARON SAIGER: I have been given questions from the students about what it's like to be justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Do you have a smartphone?

Yes, the answer is yes.

I had, in fact, two until they took the BlackBerry away from me saying, "nobody uses that anymore."

[LAUGHING]

Uh, what do I use it for? Not for selfies.

[LAUGHING]

You have said in public many times, that the ideal number of women for the Supreme Court of the United States is nine. [LAUGHING]

Yes, of course...

SAIGER: Uh... Why not?

Nine men was a satisfactory number until 1981.

But the change in the federal judiciary as a whole has been enormous.

But it wasn't until...

Jimmy Carter became president, he looked around at the federal judiciary, and he said, "don't they all look like me?"

"But that's not how the great United States looks."

EDWARDS: When president Carter was elected, he said, "there are almost no women and there are almost" no African Americans on the federal bench

"and I am determined to change that."

Justice Ginsburg and I were two of the people who benefitted from that promise.

Ruth was nominated in 1980 and we became colleagues on the U.S. Court of appeals for the DC circuit.

WOMAN: Judge Ginsburg did you always want to be a judge?

The law is something that I think I deal with well.

Uh...

I don't have the kind of talent that could make one say a great opera singer.

[OPERA MUSIC]

♪ ♪ RUTH: I wanted to be active in the law.

The law is a consuming, uh, love for me.

EDWARDS: When she first started on the bench, after we hear cases we go into a conference room and the three judges confer and we think about how we should decide the cases.

Ruth was sufficiently confident in herself in the early days.

"She would say," this is a very straightforward case.

I have a prepared judgment for us" and this was before we conferred on the case and initially, we were all taken aback like, "no wait, wait, Ruth, you can't do that."

She was always right, the judgments that she had prepared were right.

But we said, "no, we have to go through the motions" of talking first before you give us the result."

RUTH: When I was appointed to the DC circuit, "so often people would come up to me and say,"

"it must be hard for you commuting back and forth to New York."

They couldn't imagine that a man would leave his work to follow his... his wife.

He... had been extraordinarily successful as a practicing lawyer in New York.

There were people who would say, he was the best tax lawyer in the city of New York and believe me, that is saying something.

He was... okay playing second fiddle.

In fact, he would make a joke of it always, he would say, "I moved to Washington because my wife got a good job."

WOMAN: How much advice do you give each other?

[LAUGHING]

Well...

Marty was the funny one in the family and she loved it and you could see the twinkle in her eye when he would do his funny little quips and jokes.

As a general rule, my wife does not give me any advice about cooking and I do not give her any advice about the law.

This seems to work quite well on both sides.

[LAUGHING]

My father was very outgoing, very fun person, and I think he helped, uh, temper some of mom's seriousness at times which I think was to everybody's benefit.

We used to keep a book called mommy laughed.

Which had parsimonious entries.

You are giving me constant advice.

It's starts calling about, uh...

7:00, it's time to come home for dinner and then 7:30 and somewhere between 7:30 and 9:00, we generally make it.

And the other thing is time for you to go to sleep.

Those are the daily... um, that's the daily advice, that I get.

Well, it's not that bad advice you have to eat one meal a day and you have to go to sleep sometime.

[LAUGHING]

EDWARDS: He allowed Ruth to be who she was, that is, a relatively reserved, serious person, who focused on her law work and loved doing that.

And the relationship was just magnificent to watch.

RUTH: And when Marty was starting out in law practice and eager to make partner, I was responsible for the lion's share of taking care of the home.

But when the women's movement came alive and Marty appreciated the importance of the work I was doing, then I became the person whose career came first.

WEST: What was she like as a mom?

Exigent.

WEST: What do you mean by that?

"Do your homework, clean your room, don't disappoint us."

JIM: Helping a lot with, uh, schoolwork, commenting, pulling out the red pen.

MARTY GINSBURG: Our dear daughter Jane, all smiles, volunteered to the press.

She had grown up in a home in which responsibility was equally divided.

Her father did the cooking, she explained, and her mother did the thinking.

[CROWD LAUGHING]

WEST: So is she really such a horrible cook?

Yes. JIM: Oh yeah.

To this day I still can't eat swordfish... after what she did to it.

It wasn't until I was 14 that I encountered a live vegetable.

MARTY:Ruth is no longer permitted in the kitchen...

...this by the demand of our children, who have taste.

[LAUGHING]

[PIANO MUSIC]

♪ ♪

This is a book that Tata, he collected letters about me for my 50th birthday.

Tata organized all this. It was his idea.

Tata, my... her husband, my grandfather, he was especially doting, so they almost had a bad cop, good cop relationship, when it came to the grandkids.

Tata was more often the good cop I would say, uh, mostly because bubbe was often buried in her work so if we really wanted something, we felt like we could nag tata more often for it.

"Dear Ruth,"

I have little doubt that you are proud, rightly so, of all you have achieved as a judge and as a spouse and a parent as well.

But I conceive no way you can take

"greater pride than I do. Love, Tata."

Nice. Very nice.

Do you read these often? No, I never read them.

You should, they are very nice, if you ever need a boost of self-confidence.

So much of the shape of America is a work of the U.S. Supreme Court and so the makeup of that Court is one of the enduring legacies of a president who has an opportunity to appoint justices.

And tonight this new president has his first chance to make it a Clinton Court.

This president has a very clear idea of what he wants in this justice.

BILL CLINTON: I really did want to put Governor Cuomo on the Court, but he didn't want to do it so I started looking around.

He kept moving from his favorite person of the week to the next favorite person of the week and judge Ginsburg was sort of old to be a nominee.

She was in her early 60s.

Most people, I think, thought she was out of the running for that reason and Marty was just not gonna accept that.

MILLER: We're talking about Ruth and we must remember how shy she was.

I can't think of anyone less likely to toot her own horn than Ruth.

So Marty had to play the New York Philharmonic.

[ OPERA MUSIC]

♪ ♪ RUTH: No question about it, people who observed at the time, said, "well, Ruth would have been on a list,"

"maybe she would be 22 or 23" but it was Marty who made her number one.

He had a little book of people that he contacted.

They were...

[LAUGHING]

TOTENBERG: He had lots of contacts in the business community, lots of contacts in the legal community, in the academic community, among the women she had helped.

And he... I don't even know all the things he did.

He was so in love with his wife and so respected her as a real giant in the legal profession, he felt it would be an outrage if she wasn't seriously considered.

And look, he wasn't the only one that was campaigning for somebody to be on the Court.

He had some pretty stiff opposition... but it was her interview that did it.

♪ ♪ We arranged for her to come to the white house.

I wanted to see how her mind worked.

So I engaged her in this conversation.

And all of a sudden, I wasn't the president interviewing her for the Supreme Court anymore, we were two people having an honest discussion about what's the best way in the moment and for the future to make law.

TOTENBERG: Ruth Ginsburg, as quiet and kind of withdrawn and almost timid as she can be, she is a performer and she walked in that room and he fell for her.

Literally, within 15 minutes, I decided I was going to name her.

[APPLAUSE]

CLINTON: I'm proud to nominate this path-breaking attorney, advocate, and judge to be the 107th justice to the United States Supreme Court.

RUTH: When I was nominated back in 1993, senator Biden chaired the committee.

The leading republican member was Orrin Hatch.

MAN: Do you have any concerns right now?

There are always concerns because these are very important positions.

And so there will be a lot of questions asked.

Day two of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg confirmation hearings.

Judge Ginsburg did something no recent High Court nominee has done, spoke at length about her support for abortion rights.

It is essential to women's equality with man... that her choice... that she be the decision maker.

This is something central to a woman's... life, to her dignity.

And when government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult... human responsible for... her own choices.

She was put on the Court by a liberal president, uh, as a liberal justice.

And that's the way this country works.

ORRIN HATCH: I disagree with you on a number of things, and I am sure you disagree with me.

But that isn't the issue, is it?

And frankly, I admire you.

You've earned the right, in my opinion, to be on the Supreme Court.

She was confirmed 96-3.

Now, you could argue that it was not as partisan a time as it is now but it was pretty partisan.

♪ ♪

NEWS ANCHOR: Promising to defend the Constitution, pioneering women's rights advocate Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been sworn in as the second woman, on the U.S. Supreme Court bench.

I will well and faithfully discharge.

The duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

The duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

So help me God. So help me God.

PERATIS: It was extremely exciting because this powerful little woman was going on the Supreme Court, and that meant there were going to be two.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪ The standard robe is made for a man, because it has a place for the shirt to show and the tie.

So Sandra Day O'Connor and I, thought it would be appropriate if we included as part of our robe, something typical of a woman.

During my long tenure here, I was not the most quote, liberal justice on the Court.

From the beginning, I think what she was looking for was to build consensus.

Even though chief justice Rehnquist and Sandra day O'Connor were conservative justices.

They were still justices with which, Ginsburg was able to find common ground.

That was her style.

She really wanted to be able to convince her fellow justices to move her way even if it means conceding certain things and compromising.

♪ ♪

To start out, I thought you might like to know a little about the gentlemen who are surrounding us.

These are the first set of chief justices of the Supreme Court.

John Marshall is the 4th chief justice and what he said was, that this Constitution is the highest law of the land.

The 14th amendment has a clause that you all should know about and I'll read it to you. It says...

"And nor shall any state deny to any person the equal protection of the laws."

So if Congress passes a law or the president issues an executive order that is in conflict with the Constitution, the Constitution must prevail.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

FRELINGHUYSEN: VMI was a 150 year old, all-male military college.

It had a tremendous endowment, well-connected alumni, four star generals.

When you came out of VMI that was something.

BRYANT GUMBEL:Virginia military institute was the last all-male state supported school in the country.

157 years of school tradition as an all-male military academy.

[CROWD CHEERING]

TED OLSON: Boys can be troublesome, full of hormones and so forth, and I don't mean to make general gender characteristics or generalizations here but for some young men, at that time of their life they need discipline, they need hard work and they need not a lot of extra time to get into trouble.

And VMI provided that.

MAN: Look at the men which stand before you!

They represent the essence of VMI!

A female high school student wanted to attend VMI.

So she brought a case against Virginia, claiming that the all-male admissions policy violated equal protection.

It actually went from the District Court to the appellate Court before it came up to the Supreme Court .

This was an extremely important case for justice Ginsburg.

It was her first women's rights case on the Supreme Court.

COURT OFFICER: The honorable chief justice and the associate justices of the Supreme Court of the United States.

OLSON: I was very much aware of justice Ginsburg's history with respect to gender excluding women from an institution.

I was very much aware of that and I was trying to fashion an argument that would penetrate that.

RUTH:

OLSON:

RUTH:

OLSON:

I was dealing with a very worthy and formidable force at the other side of that bench.

RUTH:

OLSON:

That was my pitch. As you know it didn't work.

RUTH:


...to aspire, achieve, participate in, and contribute to society... based on what they can do.

NEWS ANCHOR: The for-men only tradition of VMI became history with the arrival of women entering as first year cadets.

MAN: Cadre, take charge of your rats.

KELLY SULLIVAN: I was in the first class of women.

We were here not to break tradition not to ruin history but to help grow it.

For those four years I worked extremely hard, to be the best person I could be and to represent women as a whole.

I wanted to be that person that stood in front of the men and said, "I can do it, too."

GENERAL PEAY: It's most appropriate that we welcome today a member of our nation's highest Court, a notable example of a citizen with a lifelong dedication to public service, justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Thank you.

GENERAL PEAY: Welcome to the Virginia Military Institute.

VMI fought very hard to keep women out.

I had an alumni walk up to me, and he says, "I'm not going to shake your hand. I want to know" why you're here, "um, and why you decided to ruin my school."

I know that there were some people who did not... react well to the change and my response to this was, "wait and see, you will be proud of the women who become graduates of VMI."

It wasn't just about VMI, it was about the notion that you cannot exclude women just because they're women.

You cannot say categorically, "they can't handle this."

It's way beyond VMI, way beyond.

And she pulled some of the justices of that Court over to see that you start, you start with an assumption that you have got to treat both genders equally.

FEIGEN:That majority opinion, was the culmination of Ruth's dedication to the concept of equality for women.

RUTH: Those are current cadets.

One wanted to be a nuclear scientist, the others engineers.

All very well adjusted to life at VMI.

So, you can see... many varieties there are more up on top.

This is the latest one I've gotten.

WEST: So people just send them to you?

Yes.

What's in this one?

Oh this one was given to me by the University of Hawaii, with French lace... and the beads are from the beach.

It is a gift from law clerks, a few terms back.

And this is what I use... for announcing majority opinion.

And this one is for dissenting opinion.

RUTH: Every day before we sit in the Court, the first thing we do is, we go around the room each justice shaking hands with every other.

We know that collegiality is very important to the effective working of the Court.

So we better respect each other and even like each other.

She did something I'm not sure I could have done, she made real friendship with Scalia.

TOTENBERG: They are the leading voice of opposite points of views on the United States Supreme Court.

Why don't you call us, the odd couple?

[LAUGHING]

He is a very funny fellow.

She is a very nice person, she likes opera, what's not to like?

Except her views of law of course.

[LAUGHING]

HELEN AVARE: Justice Scalia believes that one should read the Constitution according to its plain language, according to the meanings that were ascribed, uh, to those words when those words were enacted.

But you're saying is, let's try to figure out the mindset of people back 200 years ago, right?

Well, it isn't the mindset, it's - it's, what - what did the words mean to the people who ratified the bill of rights or who ratified the Constitution.

As opposed to what people today think it meant?

As opposed to what people today would like.

I see the Constitution, as striving for a more perfect union.

Who were we the people in 1787?

You would not be among we the people, African Americans would not be among the people.

GENE SCALIA: She's this supposed famous liberal, he's this supposed famous conservative.

She's a Jewish, he's, uh, catholic.

She's retiring at times, and he almost never is.

And yet as with many great friendships there's chemistry that maybe you can't entirely explain.

That's thing about Ruth is that she can compartmentalize better than I do. She is able to have a close friend who had these outrageous views, um, about women and about gays and lesbians.

I have a little bit of trouble with that.

I don't have close friends who are right wing nutcases.

Even though they had differing points of view, they were dear friends. I'm sure they were... picking at each other the whole time.

But they kind of enjoyed it.

RUTH: Justice scalia would whisper something to me.

All I could do to avoid laughing out loud, so I would sometimes pinch myself.

People sometimes ask me, "well, what was your favorite scalia joke?" And I said, "I know what it is, but I can't tell you."

[LAUGHING]

They enjoyed going to the operas together, and they enjoyed discussing particular operas and of course, they appeared together in an opera.

TOTENBERG: What's the most fun thing you've ever done together?

Was it being on that elephant together in India?

RUTH: That was a rather bumpy ride.

ANTONIN SCALIA: Some of her feminist friends gave her a hard time because she rode behind me on the elephant.

And that's wha... I'm not kidding.

It-- it was... the driver explained it was a matter of distribution of weight.

[LAUGHING]

Washington has a reputation as being a hard town to make good friendships.

And the Supreme Court itself is a place where your colleagues on any given case are also your adversaries.

It was very gratifying to see the two of them together and know that they had their disagreements but that my father had this just really wonderful friend.

PETER JENNINGS: The presidential election is over.

George Bush prevails by one vote in the Supreme Court .

George, this effectively ends the election.

It has ended the election and Peter, literally one of the closest elections in American history.

600 votes approximately separated Gore and bush in the state of Florida, and now by one vote on the Supreme Court, this election is over.

Look at the dissents and the strong language in the dissents.

Justice Ginsburg, "the Court's conclusion" that a recount is impractical, is a prophecy the Court's own judgment will not allow to be tested.

"Such an untested prophecy..."

...should not decide the presidency of the United States.

I dissent.

CARMON:She was never supposed to be the great dissenter but that's the course that history took her on.

George W. Bush was able to appoint two justices.

The addition of Samuel Alito and John Roberts on the Court pushed it far to the right.

FRELINGHUYSEN: The role of an individual justice can change dramatically as the Court changes.

With the departure of justice O'Connor and with more conservatives joining the bench.

She found she had to really exercise her dissenting voice.

RUTH: Of course I prefer to be in the majority but if necessary...

I will write separately in dissent.

Lilly Ledbetter: I went to work one night and someone had left me a note.

It had my name and three men. We four had the exact same job.

My pay was 40 percent less than theirs.

I had been shortchanged for no other reason than I had been born the wrong sex, I was a woman.

The jury found that I had been discriminated against but of course, Goodyear appealed and then we were notified that we would be heard in the Supreme Court .

I looked at the Court makeup, that's when justice Alito had just gone on the bench.

Justice Ginsburg at the time was the only female left.

Justice Alito read the opinion, he said, "I was definitely" discriminated against but I had not filed my charge timely, "that I'd waited too late to file my charge."

RUTH:


She's hit the nail on the head because she definitely said, "they do not know what it's like in the real world."

RUTH: Today, the ball again lies in Congress' Court...

"...to correct the error into which the Court has fallen."

She was laying down a marker for Congress and in fact federal law was changed because of her dissent.

Three fifths of the senators having voted in the affirmative, the bill has passed.

BARACK OBAMA: It is fitting that the very first bill that I sign, the Lilly Ledbetter fair pay restoration act is upholding one of this nation's founding principles... that we are all created equal... and each deserve a chance to pursue our own version of happiness.

MARTY:Ruth and I were in New York City to see the play proof.

And as we walked down the aisle to our seats, what seemed like the entire audience began to applaud, many stood, Ruth beamed.

I beamed too, leaned over and whispered loudly, "I bet you didn't know there's a convention of tax lawyers in town."

Well, without changing her bright smile, Ruth smacked me right in the stomach.

I give you this picture because it fairly captures our nearly 50-year happy marriage.

During which I've offered up an astonishing number of foolish pronouncements and Ruth has ignored almost every one.

[CROWD LAUGHING]

[APPLAUSE]

Well, I think part of the time when he was sick, she was in denial.

He just became weaker and weaker.

The way people get sick when they're... close to dying, but... she somehow knew how to turn off those tear ducts in public.

She steeled herself for it.

RUTH: I found this letter... next to Marty's bed in the hospital.

"My dearest Ruth," you are the only person I have loved in my life, setting aside a bit parents and kids and their kids.

What a treat it has been to watch you progress to the very top of the legal world.

I have admired and loved you almost since the day we first met at Cornell, some 56 years ago.

The time has come for me to take leave of life... because the loss of quality... now simply overwhelms.

I hope you will support where I come out... and I understand you may not.

I will not love you...

"a jot less."

MARTY:We met on a blind date in 1950.

The truth is it was a blind date only on Ruth's side.

[LAUGHING]

MARTY: I cheated.

[LAUGHING]

MARTY:I asked a classmate to point her out in advance.

"Oh, ho, she's really cute," I perceptively noticed.

And then after a couple of evenings out, I, uh, added, "and boy she's really, really smart."

In the intervening 53 years, nothing changed.

Where are we headed?

We're headed to these outdoor sculptures, and all the sculptures are done by contemporary native American artists.

SPERA: After a period of very justified mourning, she sort of relaunched herself, into her work and filled the time that she would have spent with my grandfather, with work both to distract herself I think from his absence but also to honor him.

WOMAN: This is her son, James, and this is her grandson...

TOTENBERG: Marty was her life.

And her children and grandchildren who have a life of their own.

She's very much interested in arts and loves to go to those things.

And then she goes home at the end of the evening and works until four in the morning.

These two pieces are by a creek artist.

RUTH: And what is she called, that one?

TOUR GUIDE: She's called a woman warrior.

Any kind of battle you bring to her, she's ready for it.

It's considered one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation ever passed, but by 5-4 the U.S. Supreme Court today, took the teeth out of a law enacted nearly 50 years ago.

REPORTER:Voting rights act has policed voting discrimination but today's decision effectively puts it on hold.

REPORTER 2: Chief justice, John Roberts, summarized his opinion with four telling words, "our country has changed."

RUTH:

"...is like throwing away your umbrella..."

"in a rainstorm..."

"because you are not getting wet."

She called out the majority and said this makes zero sense.

The entire reason that racial discrimination in voting is not happening is because we have this very important law.

I was righteously angry right alongside with her.

Her dissent was the introduction for many young people about how important the Court is to our everyday lives.

I just pulled up Photoshop and did the design in like 15 minutes.

AMINA SOW: I came up with a couple slogans but the one that kept coming back to me was, "you can't spell truth without Ruth."

KNIZHNIK:A friend of mine posted on Facebook saying, "Wow! Justice Ginsburg, sure can write"

# NotoriousRBG So I started a Tumblr and I called it Notorious RBG.

NOTRE DAME: She is known to fans the world over as, the Notorious RBG.

BIGGIE SMALLS:Yeah... This album is dedicated to all the teachers that told me I'd never amount to nothing.

I do know where the Notorious RBG came from.

It... it was the rapper the Notorious B.I.G.

[RAP MUSIC]

♪ ♪ People ask me, "don't you feel uncomfortable being" with a name like Notorious B.I.G?"

Um... why should I feel uncomfortable?

We have a lot in common.

[LAUGHING]

[APPLAUSE]

First and foremost... we were both born and bred in Brooklyn, New York.

[LAUGHING]

SOW: Young people are really craving different kinds of icons.

Realizing that somebody like RBG has been doing her job for decades and being forceful and speaking truth to power kind of blows my mind.

DON LEMON:A big win for conservatives in the hobby lobby case.

♪ ♪ ROBERTS: Justice Ginsburg has filed a dissenting opinion.

RUTH:

We were all so hungry to hear from Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Every time justice Ginsburg wrote a dissent, the Internet would explode.

MAN 1: Justice Ginsburg has filed a dissenting opinion.

MAN 2: Justice Ginsburg has filed a dissenting opinion.

RUTH: My dissenting opinion. I dissent.

Dissent from today's decision.

CARMON:You just had to put the words Ruth Bader Ginsburg into something and it would be shared compulsively.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪ TOTENBERG: She's become such a rock star and she enjoys it.

To see people wear Notorious RBG t-shirts or other paraphernalia with her face on it.

It's weird honestly.

She gives her RBG t-shirts to people.

EDWARDS: She called and laughed did you get the birthday gift?

I said I did I'm wearing it.

Tattoos! Yeah. Lots of tattoos.

CARMON:I had a picture of one of the tattoos and I showed it to her and she goes "uh!"

Why would you do something so permanent?"

Here now to comment is Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

[CROWD CHEERING]

Alright! Justice coming in hot.

I'm ready to rumble Mayweather, Pacquiao style.

I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, I clean myself like a fly.

[LAUGHING]

JIM: It's so unlike mom, but I don't think mom... an accurate imitation of mom would be that funny.

BETSY: Do you think she watches them?

I don't think she ever has watched television.

Yeah, I'm not sure she knows how to turn on...

No, no, she watches the NewsHour while she's working out.

Yeah, but that's at the Court, does she know how to turn on the television at home? I don't think so.

Here to explain is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Is this' Saturday Night Live'?

I like my men like I like my decisions: 5-4.

That's a third-degree Gins-burn!!

[LAUGHING]

It's marvelously funny. How did they...

JULIE COHEN: Remind you of yourself?

Not one bit.

Except for the collar.

What about the state of the union where you were caught sleeping?

No, I wasn't sleeping I was just giving in to the weight of my glasses.

[LAUGHING]

SPERA: Watching the state of the union and I notice that her head is drooping a little bit and she might have dozed off for about a minute or two.

After that happened, I called her up and said, "you know, bubbe, you were asleep during the state of the union, you can't do that."

TOTENBERG: You went to the state of the union and you fell asleep.

As I often do.

The audience for the most part is awake, because they're bobbing up and down all the time... and we sit there, stone faced... sober judges. But we're not... at least I wasn't, a hundred percent sober.

[LAUGHING]

TOTENBERG: She does look vulnerable, she is this tiny little person and that is somehow in contrast with being the ferocious defender of minorities and women and... certain kinds of ideals.

There's always I think the concern that can she continue to keep up this pace?

Well, she's now been through two different types of cancer without missing a day on the bench.

RUTH: I had my first cancer bout in 1999, Colorectal cancer.

It was the year of first surgery and then chemotherapy.

Ten years later, I had pancreatic cancer.

I think what it has left me is... an enhanced appreciation of the joys of being alive.

What I need you to do is just grab them and just pull.

Just standing up straight? Just pull, don't lean back.

Good, just pull, pull, okay? Arch that back. Good.

This is light. I know, I know, I got a heavier one.

Since it's too light, I got a heavier one BRYANT JOHNSON: I started training justice Ginsburg back in 1999.

She had just come out of chemotherapy and she wanted to build muscle and get stronger.

She's like a cyborg.

And when I say cyborg, she's like a machine.

[OPERA MUSIC]

♪ ♪ Lean back. Good, yeah, and pull yourself up.

Exactly. Good.

♪ ♪ Alright, bring chest down to the ball, good.

They're real push-ups right, they're not girl push-ups.

No, th... they are... very real, yes.

[LAUGHING]

HELSEL: I've heard that she's does 20 push-ups, three times a week or something.

I mean we can't even get off the floor.

We can't even get down to the floor.

[LAUGHING]

That's true.

RUTH: I always feel better no matter how tired I am, at the end of that hour, I'm ready to go again.

♪ ♪ She definitely embodies the larger than life nature of the "notorious" title... more and more as she gets older.

She's become much more public, much more vocal.

Especially in a time when our politics are just so garbage.

REPORTER 1: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke fearfully of a Donald Trump presidency.

REPORTER 2: An unusually candid political outpouring calling Trump a "faker."

Justice Ginsburg, uh, made some very, very inappropriate... statements toward me.

I was flabbergasted.

It surprised me that she would comment in a derogatory way about any candidate for president. It's...

it's inappropriate.

It's not just a matter of decorum... it's a matter of her not understanding her Constitutional role.

She has just come out and issued an apology.

You released a statement that read, "judges should avoid" commenting on a candidate for public office."

But do you really regret the substance of what you said?

I think in the best, the wisest course would have been to say nothing.

Is it wrong for Supreme Court justices to... uh, to occasionally make a mistake? No.

They're human beings and she's a human being and she apologized for it.

It is quite possible that many, many executive orders or other things that a president has supported or done are going to come before the Supreme Court and that now we have a sitting justice indicating, that the person has a deep antipathy, uh, against the lawmaker.

The notion that I...

I don't comprehend that my job... is to interpret the law fairly... that I'm going to vote one way... based on who I might have voted for president is just...

none of us... even if we wanted to... could be successful if that's the attitude that we had.

ROBERT LONGBOTTOM: You look marvelous.

Knowing that we were opening on the Saturday after the election, I wanted somebody who was a Washington insider to play the 'Duchess of Krakenthorp'.

"The best of the house of Krakenthorp..."

RUTH: There are very few operas that have speaking parts and the Duchess of Krackenthorp is one such part. So I wrote... basically my own lines for the Duchess of Krackenthorp.

[CLASSICAL MUSIC]

♪ ♪

[CROWD CHEERING]

"The best of the house of Krakenthorp" have open, but not empty minds.

No surprise then that the most valorous krakenthorpians

"have been women!"

[LAUGHING]

[CROWD CHEERING]

"A lady Krackenthorp" at all times must conduct herself with dignity and grace.

We now request certain essential documents.

[LAUGHING]

"Have you brought your niece's birth certificate?"

[LAUGHING]

[LAUGHING]

"Ours is a family wildly trumpeted," hence we must take precautions against

"fraudulent pretenders."

[LAUGHING]

[CROWD CHEERING]

Justice Ginsburg, I think everyone expected you to retire soon.

I mean, you're 83.

Yeah, you're damn right. I was gonna retire. Ugh!

But not now.

Not now, now I gotta stay alive and healthy.

Damn it. Give me my thing.

Excuse me, I gotta take my vitamins.

COLIN JOST: Oh my god, that's...

JOST:...That's... that's a packet.

[LAUGHING]

TOTENBERG: Justice Ginsburg, let me ask you a tough question.

There were liberals who publicly urged you to retire, uh... two or three years ago, so that president Obama could name a replacement.

Any second thoughts about not doing that?

I have said many times that I will... do this job... as long as I can do it full steam.

And when I can't... that will be the time, I will step down.

MILLER: She has found her voice on the Court.

She is a center of power... on the Court and off the Court.

TOTENBERG: When the history books are written, an enormous amount will be about what she did as a very young lawyer.

PERATIS: There would not have been the legal status of women today had it not been for her work in the '70s.

She changed everything.

RUTH: The gender line helps to keep women not on a pedestal but in a cage Ruth's work made me feel as if I was protected by the U.S. Constitution for the first time.

RUTH: Men and women are persons of equal dignity and they should count equally before the law.

She may be small but she's got a firm backbone.

CARMON: It's been a long road for her and she's fought really hard all the way down it.

She's not done fighting.

RUTH: Looking back over my long life.

Yes, we may be in trying times... but think how it was.

RUTH: When I went to college... there was a big red scare in our country.

Some people in our Congress saw a communist in every closet and in every corner.

But it impressed me, that there were lawyers reminding our Congress that we have freedom of speech and of the press.

So I thought that that was a pretty good thing to do...

♪ ♪ To help keep our country in tune with its most basic values.

♪ ♪ Now is the busiest season for the Court.

All dissenting opinions have to be... circulated.

And I have a few of those still to go.

One of the world's greatest jurists, judge learned hand... said, that the spirit of Liberty that imbues our Constitution must lie first and foremost in the hearts of the men and women who compose this great nation... a community where the least shall be heard and considered side by side with the greatest.

I will keep that wisdom in the front of my mind as long as I am capable of judicial service.

COURT OFFICER: Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! The Court is now sitting.

♪ ♪

♪ When you feel you're taking all that you can take ♪

♪ And you're sure you're never gonna catch a break ♪

♪ And the tears are rivers running down your face, ♪

♪ Yeah When your faith is low and you've got no strength left ♪

♪ When you think you've gone as far as you can get ♪

♪ And you're too undone to take another step ♪

♪ Oh I will take up the struggle ♪

♪ Oh I know it's a fight ♪

♪ So I'll fight, fight that war for you ♪

♪ I'll fight, stand and defend you ♪

♪ Take your side, ♪

♪ That's what I'm here to do ♪

♪ I'll be there to be strong ♪

♪ Oh I'll keep on, keep on the fight ♪

♪ When it's dangerous, takes another piece of you ♪

♪ Everybody takes all they can get from you ♪

♪ Till you're left with almost nothing left of you ♪

♪ When each night is like a battle you can't win ♪

♪ And the pain is like a weight you're carrying ♪

♪ I will be the one to help you carry it ♪

♪ Oh I will take all your troubles ♪

♪ Oh I know it's a fight ♪

♪ So I'll fight, fight that war for you ♪

♪ I'll fight, stand and defend you ♪

♪ Take your side, that's what I'm here to do ♪

♪ I'll be there to be strong Oh I'll keep on, keep on the fight ♪

♪ I'll help your back when your backs to the wall ♪

♪ I'll catch the tears when your tears fall ♪

♪ I will give it all I won't give up the fight ♪

♪ So I'll fight, fight that war for you ♪

♪ I'll fight, stand and defend you ♪

♪ Take your side, that's what I'm here to do ♪

♪ I'll be there to be strong Oh I'll keep on, keep on ♪

♪ The fight I'll fight, fight that war for you ♪

♪ I'll fight, stand